Blake Bailey

  • Darkness Invisible

    “ALL I WRITE ABOUT IS FAMILY,” Elizabeth Cox once remarked to Richard Yates, who had helped her with her first novel. “That’s all there is to write about,” Yates replied. The late Evan S. Connell might have disagreed: Though he wrote two masterpieces about family life in midcentury America, Mrs. Bridge (1959) and Mr. Bridge (1969), he also wrote a fascinating account of General Custer, along with a lot of other nonfiction, poetry, and an odd assortment of novels and short stories that might have been written by five or six different authors. That the Bridge novels are so clearly superior to

  • culture January 14, 2013

    Selected Letters of William Styron

    “For a person whose sole burning ambition is to write — like myself — college is useless beyond the sophomore year,” William Styron wrote to his father in 1946, after returning from Platoon Commander School in Quantico, Va., to resume his studies at Duke. Styron would go on to graduate — he was a nice boy, and eager to please his doting father — but he wasn’t kidding about his monomaniacal focus on writing, and in many ways the early pages of this splendid book are the hardest.